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Best Routers for Security 2024

We tested and reviewed dozens of routers to see which ones have the best free security.

  • Best overall
    Front image of TP-Link Archer AX11000 router
    TP-Link Archer AX11000
    • $309.97*
    • Built-in VPN server
    • Multiple wired ports
    • No VPN client
  • Best for budgets
    Front view of ASUS RT-AX68U with three antennas
    ASUS RT-AX68U
    • $129.00*
    • Dual internet support
    • Free security
    • No multi-gig internet
  • Best for gamers
    Front shot of ASUS ROG Rapture GT-AX11000 router with antennas up
    ASUS ROG Rapture GT-AX11000
    • $399.00*
    • Multi-gig internet support
    • Great long range
    • Annoying antennas
  • Best for VPN
    expressvpn aircove front shot
    ExpressVPN Aircove
    • $189.90*
    • Built-in ExpressVPN client
    • Live customer support
    • No parental controls
  • Best for parents
    Gryphon AX
    • $274.50*
    • Ethernet backhaul
    • Lots of parental controls
    • Subscription-locked features

Our pick: Which router for security is best?

The TP-Link Archer AX11000 is our top pick for the best router for security out of all the routers we’ve tested to date. Sure, it’s a gaming router, but it includes free antivirus, parental controls, and a boatload of wired ports to keep your connected devices safe from eavesdroppers possibly lurking nearby.

How we test routers

We vigorously test routers to see how well they stack up against the competition in speed and range. We also evaluate the setup process and dig into the web and mobile apps to see if they’re easy or difficult to use. Check out our methodology section for more information.

The 5 best routers for security

Compare router speeds and prices

ModelMax throughputTested speed
@ 40 ft.
Price*Order online
Best overallTP-Link Archer AX1100011,000Mbps692Mbps$309.97View on Amazon
Best for budgetsASUS RT-AX68U2,700Mbps567Mbps$129.00View on Amazon
Best for gamersASUS ROG Rapture GT-AX1100011,000Mbps642Mbps$399.00View on Amazon
Best for VPNExpressVPN Aircove1,800Mbps413Mbps$189.90View on Amazon
Best for parentsGryphon AX4,300Mbps469Mbps$274.50View on Amazon

What should you look for in a router for security?

We tend to gravitate to routers with free security features. For instance, the ASUS routers on this list offer the AiProtection security suite free for the router’s life, including antivirus and parental controls. TP-Link does something similar with HomeCare.

You should also go with Wi-Fi 6 and newer. It’s more secure than Wi-Fi 5, plus it’s faster, more power efficient, and better at handling multiple devices. Wi-Fi 6E adds the 6 GHz connection for even faster speeds.

Do you have the best internet provider with the security features you need?

If not, be sure to enter your zip code below to see what options are available to you.

Best overall—TP-Link Archer AX11000

Best overall

Front image of TP-Link Archer AX11000 router
Kevin Parrish | HighSpeedInternet.com

A great blend of features and security

Score:

4

out of 5

The Archer AX11000 is a gaming router at heart, but it’s loaded with free security and parental controls anyone can use. The eight LAN ports are a plus too.

 

   Pros    Cons
  • Free antivirus
  • Eight Ethernet ports
  • No VPN client
  • No adjustable antennas

$309.97*

 

View on Amazon

Read Our Full Review

Expand for product details and ratings

Category Score* Summary
Performance 4 Offers some of the fastest speeds we’ve tested to date.
Features 4 Includes free security, parental controls, and a built-in VPN server.
Design 4 Provides eight Gigabit Ethernet ports for more secure connections.
Setup 4 Gets your network up and running quickly.
Ease of use 4 Presents the best web interface out of all the TP-Link routers we’ve tested.

* out of 5 points

 

What we like about it: The Archer AX11000 is backed by TP-Link’s free HomeCare security suite, which includes Trend Micro antivirus and parental controls. It also has some of the best speeds we’ve tested to date, even at 120 feet.

What we wish it did better: The setup process needs to be more automated and split into Basic and Advanced options.

Why do we recommend it? We love TP-Link routers with HomeCare because there’s no extra expense on your part for security and parental control features. We also love the Archer AX11000 for its speeds and multitude of gigabit Ethernet ports for more secure connections to the internet.

Security suite: TP-Link HomeCare

 

Tested speeds at a glance

5 GHz max speed 2 feet 40 feet 120 feet
1,200 860 692 282

* Speeds in megabits per second (Mbps) using a Wi-Fi 6 client and an 80 MHz channel.

 

Wi-Fi specs Wired specs
  • Standard: Wi-Fi 6
  • Max throughput: 11,000Mbps
  • Antennas: 8
  • Streams: 12
  • Bands: 3
  • WAN (1–2.5Gbps): 1
  • LAN ports: 8
  • USB 3.2 ports: 2
  • Max internet speed supported: ~2,370Mbps

Best for budgets—ASUS RT-AX68U

Best for budgets

ASUS RT AX86U router
Kevin Parrish | HighSpeedInternet.com

Great security and features at an affordable price

Score:

4.2

out of 5

The RT-AX68U packs a lot of features for the money, including free security and parental controls. It has great speeds, too, when we test it at 120 feet.

 

   Pros    Cons
  • Dual internet support
  • Free parental controls
  • No multi-gig internet
  • No 160 MHz channels

$129.00*

 

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Read Our Full Review

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Category Score* Summary
Performance 4 Has speeds similar to other routers sold at this price.
Features 5 Packs free security, parental controls, and loads more.
Design 4 Supports dual internet connections and link aggregation.
Setup 5 Gets you up and running in no time flat.
Ease of use 4 Presents a better mobile experience than the web browser one.

* out of 5 points

 

What we like about it: The RT-AX68U is a great router for businesses and homes alike, offering some enterprise-grade security along with the AiProtect Classic suite. There are good speeds to be had, too, even when we test it outside at 120 feet.

What we wish it did better: The RT-AX68U needs a more unified presentation across its web interface and mobile app.

Why do we recommend it? This little guy certainly packs a punch for the price. The RT-AX68U is loaded with features, from free security to dual internet connection support. You also get great speeds for the money, even at a long range.

Security suite: ASUS AiProtect Classic

 

Tested speeds at a glance

5 GHz max speed 2 feet 40 feet 120 feet
1,200 848 567 251

* Speeds in megabits per second (Mbps) using a Wi-Fi 6 client and an 80 MHz channel.

 

Wi-Fi specs Wired specs
  • Standard: Wi-Fi 6
  • Max throughput: 2,700Mbps
  • Antennas: 3
  • Streams: 6
  • Bands: 2
  • WAN ports: 1
  • LAN ports: 4
  • USB 3.2 ports: 1
  • USB 2.0 ports: 1
  • Max internet speed supported: ~940Mbps
  •  

Best for gamers—ASUS ROG Rapture GT-AX11000

Best for gamers

Front shot of ASUS ROG Rapture GT-AX11000 router with antennas up
Kevin Parrish | HighSpeedInternet.com

A great gaming router with excellent free security

Score:

4.1

out of 5

This router packs everything under the sun and then some, including the free AiProtect Advanced security suite. We tested and found great speeds at 120 feet too.

 

   Pros    Cons
  • Multi-gig internet support
  • Free security and parental controls
  • Annoying antennas
  • Hefty price

$399.00*

 

View on Amazon

Read Our Full Review

Expand for product details and ratings

Category Score* Summary
Performance 4 Holds some of the best speeds we’ve tested to date, even at 120 feet.
Features 5 Packs more features under the hood than you’ll likely ever use.
Design 4 Includes three bands and multi-gig internet support.
Setup 4 Requires more time to set up due to all the extra features.
Ease of use 4 Presents better network management in the web interface than the mobile app.

* out of 5 points

 

What we like about it: Gamers need security too, and the GT-AX11000 excels with the AiProtect Pro suite. It’s also packed with plenty of other features you may never use fully, plus great speeds, even when we benchmark the router from across the street.

What we wish it did better: The antennas on the unit we purchased refused to stay upright over time.

Why do we recommend it? The price is a little steep, but you can’t go wrong with the ROG Rapture GT-AX11000 if you can afford it. With free security, parental controls, real gaming tools, and more, it’s the best network centerpiece you can buy, even if you’re not a gamer.

Security suite: ASUS AiProtect Pro

 

Tested speeds at a glance

5 GHz max speed 2 feet 40 feet 120 feet
1,200 848 642 260

* Speeds in megabits per second (Mbps) using a Wi-Fi 6 client and an 80 MHz channel.

 

Wi-Fi specs Wired specs
  • Standard: Wi-Fi 6
  • Max throughput: 11,000Mbps
  • Antennas: 8
  • Streams: 12
  • Bands: 3
  • WAN ports (1Gbps): 1
  • WAN/LAN ports (1–2.5Gbps): 1
  • LAN ports: 4
  • USB 3.2 ports: 2
  • Max internet speed supported: ~2,370Mbps

Best for VPN—ExpressVPN Aircove

Best for VPN

expressvpn aircove front shot
Kevin Parrish | HighSpeedInternet.com

An inexpensive router designed for ExpressVPN customers

Score:

3.8

out of 5

The Aircove targets ExpressVPN customers who want a hardware-based VPN client. It lacks a lot of the features you get on similarly-priced routers.
   Pros    Cons
  • Built-in VPN client
  • Live customer support
  • No multi-gig internet support
  • No parental controls

$189.90*

 

View on Amazon

Read Our Full Review

Expand for product details and ratings

Category Score* Summary
Performance 4 Has decent speeds for a router sold at this price.
Features 2 Lacks standard features offered on other routers.
Design 3 Includes a USB port you can’t even use.
Setup 5 Walks you through one of the fastest setups we’ve seen.
Ease of use 4 Displays a simple web interface on mobile and desktop.

* out of 5 points

 

What we like about it: The Aircove has good speeds based on our tests, matching the averages of other similarly-priced routers we’ve reviewed. The built-in ExpressVPN client is outstanding, allowing you to group devices and connect each group to different VPN servers.

What we wish it did better: There’s a lot we wished the Aircove did better, like support for the built-in USB port and parental controls for better device management.

Why do we recommend it? The Aircove is a great secondary router for ExpressVPN customers. The way it allows you to group devices and connect them to different servers is astounding. There are plenty of decent Wi-Fi 6 speeds here, too, based on our tests.

Security suite: ExpressVPN

 

Tested speeds at a glance

5 GHz max speed 2 feet 40 feet 120 feet
1,200 845 413 191

* Speeds in megabits per second (Mbps) using a Wi-Fi 6 client and an 80 MHz channel.

 

Wi-Fi specs Wired specs
  • Standard: Wi-Fi 6
  • Max throughput: 1,800Mbps
  • Antennas: 4
  • Streams: 4
  • Bands: 2
  • WAN ports: 1
  • LAN ports: 4
  • USB 3.2 ports: 1
  • Max internet speed supported: ~940Mbps

Best for parents—Gryphon AX

Best for parents

Kevin Parrish | HighSpeedInternet.com

A great mesh system geared for parents

Score:

4

out of 5

The Gryphon AX is a good pick if you need serious parental controls. Plus, it has decent speeds, too, for a mesh router, even if you use just one unit.

 

   Pros    Cons
  • IoT device isolation
  • Good basic parental controls
  • No multi-gig internet
  • Subscription-locked features

$274.50*

 

View on Amazon

Read Our Full Review

Expand for product details and ratings

Category Score* Summary
Performance 4 Provides great speeds for a mesh system based on our benchmarks.
Features 4 Includes great parental control features you can use for free.
Design 4 Lacks multi-gig internet but supports wired backhauling between units.
Setup 4 Requires very little time to get your network running.
Ease of use 4 Presents a decent app experience for easy network management.

* out of 5 points

 

What we like about it: The Gryphon AX is a good mesh system if you need lots of parental controls and good coverage throughout your home. Tests showed it’s a standalone router with good speeds, hitting a 146Mbps average at 120 feet.

What we wish it did better: The Gryphon AX needs more free security, as seen with ASUS and TP-Link routers.

Why do we recommend it? The Gryphon AX is a good pick if you need a system targeting parental controls. There are some extra security features to be had here, like adware and malware filters, if you’re willing to spend the extra money.

Security suite: Gryphon Advanced Protection

 

Tested speeds at a glance

5 GHz max speed 2 feet 40 feet 120 feet
1,200 855 469 146

* Speeds in megabits per second (Mbps) using a Wi-Fi 6 client and an 80 MHz channel.

 

Wi-Fi specs Wired specs
  • Standard: Wi-Fi 6
  • Max throughput: 4,300Mbps
  • Antennas: 6
  • Streams: 8
  • Bands: 3
  • WAN ports: 1
  • LAN ports: 1
  • Max internet speed supported: ~940Mbps
  •  

Routers for security specs and features

All routers provide security through their built-in firewall to keep hackers off your home network. However, some provide additional layers, like antivirus or built-in VPN tools. We’ll cover some of the basic features you should keep in mind while shopping for a new router.

Free security features

We usually suggest routers with free security and parental controls, like AiProtect from ASUS and TP-Link’s HomeCare. Other routers offer minimal security and parental controls while locking premium features behind a monthly subscription. Decide what’s best for your long-term budget before you invest.

Wi-Fi 6 and newer

Wi-Fi 6 and newer include Wi-Fi Protected Access 3 (WPA3), the latest security protocol for wireless connections. It features faster and stronger encryption than WPA2, making it less vulnerable to brute-force attacks against your Wi-Fi connections. Your Wi-Fi passwords are now better protected with WPA3—even the simple ones.

VPN

Many routers now include VPN connectivity. For example, you can surf anonymously from a coffee shop, as your data is directed to the VPN server in your home router first before it reaches the destination. Some routers have a built-in VPN to protect devices that don’t support VPN software, like a game console or media streamer.

Ethernet ports

Ethernet is inconvenient in a Wi-Fi-first world, but a wired connection keeps eavesdroppers from intercepting your data flowing to and from the router. We’ll always suggest Ethernet over Wi-Fi for better security and performance.

Other router features

Radios: We suggest a router with three bands. Each radio uses a separate channel, so you’ll see less congestion than you would on a dual-band router using just two channels.

Streams: Get a router with a high stream count for reduced latency. Most wireless devices use a two-transmit two-receive design (2×2), so a router with four streams on a single band can handle two devices at full speed simultaneously—four devices at half speed.

Antennas: You only need one antenna per band, but routers use multiple antennas for beamforming and supporting multiple devices simultaneously. You also get a better long range from external antennas than you do with internal ones.

Our verdict

The TP-Link Archer AX11000 has always been one of our favorite routers. It checks all the right boxes, from good long-range speeds to all the cool features it packs under the hood. It even supports real-world internet speeds of just under 2,400Mbps.

But the big callout here is security. TP-Link’s free HomeCare suite powered by Trend Micro means all your devices—even ones that don’t support antivirus software—are protected against malware. HomeCare automatically quarantines infected devices, blocks malicious websites, and keeps hackers off your network.

Of course, if you need something stronger, there are other routers you can get with subscription-based security features, like device-side antivirus for on-the-go protection and anti-theft protection.

Methodology

We test router speed by setting up each router in an office and connecting it to a local test server. Then, we transmit test data between our wireless devices and the server, taking numerous measurements to account for fluctuations in Wi-Fi speeds.

The first tests occur close to the router, without obstructions—so the Wi-Fi is as strong and fast as it’s gonna get. We repeat the process straight out at 10, 20, and 30 feet, with only a glass door obstructing our view of the router. The same glass door and an exterior door blocks our path when we test outside at 40 and 50 feet.

We also run tests in a hallway to the left of the TV room and office—where there’s a glass door, three walls, and an air handler unit blocking our view of the router. The dining room, another testing point, sits to the right of the kitchen, TV room, and office—two walls and a glass door block the path in this test.

To test video streaming, we connect a fast storage device to the router and stream a 4K video to six wireless devices simultaneously—two phones, three tablets, and a laptop—connected to the same wireless band.

Client devices used in testing

Google Pixel 6iPhone 12 Pro MaxGoogle Pixel 3
Wi-Fi versionWi-Fi 6EWi-Fi 6Wi-Fi 5
Stream configuration2 x 22 x 22 x 2
Max channel width160MHz80MHz80MHz
Max 6GHz speed (AXE)2,400Mbps
Max 5GHz speed (AX)2,400Mbps1,200Mbps
Max 5GHz speed (AC)866Mbps866Mbps866Mbps
Max 2.4GHz speed (AX)195Mbps195Mbps
Max 2.4GHz speed (AC)144Mbps195Mbps144Mbps
Max 2.4 GHz speed (N)144Mbps144Mbps144Mbps
Wi-Fi version
Google Pixel 6Wi-Fi 6E
iPhone 12 Pro MaxWi-Fi 6
Google Pixel 3Wi-Fi 5
Stream configuration
Google Pixel 62 x 2
iPhone 12 Pro Max2 x 2
Google Pixel 32 x 2
Max channel width
Google Pixel 6160MHz
iPhone 12 Pro Max80MHz
Google Pixel 380MHz
Max 6GHz speed (AXE)
Google Pixel 62,400Mbps
iPhone 12 Pro Max
Google Pixel 3
Max 5GHz speed (AX)
Google Pixel 62,400Mbps
iPhone 12 Pro Max1,200Mbps
Google Pixel 3
Max 5GHz speed (AC)
Google Pixel 6866Mbps
iPhone 12 Pro Max866Mbps
Google Pixel 3866Mbps
Max 2.4GHz speed (AX)
Google Pixel 6195Mbps
iPhone 12 Pro Max195Mbps
Google Pixel 3
Max 2.4GHz speed (AC)
Google Pixel 6144Mbps
iPhone 12 Pro Max195Mbps
Google Pixel 3144Mbps
Max 2.4 GHz speed (N)
Google Pixel 6144Mbps
iPhone 12 Pro Max144Mbps
Google Pixel 3144Mbps

Router benchmarks

Here are the average 5 GHz speeds recorded for each router. Wi-Fi speeds fluctuate significantly, so these numbers reflect at least three tests taken at each 10-foot interval.

TP-Link Archer AX11000

iPhone 12 Pro MaxGoogle Pixel 3
2 feet860658
10 feet848645
20 feet768572
30 feet745453
40 feet (porch)692330
120 feet (neighbor)282175
2 feet
iPhone 12 Pro Max860
Google Pixel 3658
10 feet
iPhone 12 Pro Max848
Google Pixel 3645
20 feet
iPhone 12 Pro Max768
Google Pixel 3572
30 feet
iPhone 12 Pro Max745
Google Pixel 3453
40 feet (porch)
iPhone 12 Pro Max692
Google Pixel 3330
120 feet (neighbor)
iPhone 12 Pro Max282
Google Pixel 3175

ASUS RT-AX68U

iPhone 12 Pro MaxGoogle Pixel 3
2 feet848665
10 feet796631
20 feet766602
30 feet759518
40 feet (porch)567369
120 feet (across street)251148
2 feet
iPhone 12 Pro Max848
Google Pixel 3665
10 feet
iPhone 12 Pro Max796
Google Pixel 3631
20 feet
iPhone 12 Pro Max766
Google Pixel 3602
30 feet
iPhone 12 Pro Max759
Google Pixel 3518
40 feet (porch)
iPhone 12 Pro Max567
Google Pixel 3369
120 feet (across street)
iPhone 12 Pro Max251
Google Pixel 3148

ASUS ROG Rapture GT-AX11000

iPhone 12 Pro MaxGoogle Pixel 3
2 feet848652
10 feet827644
20 feet755529
30 feet729462
40 feet (porch)642308
120 feet (across street)260169
2 feet
iPhone 12 Pro Max848
Google Pixel 3652
10 feet
iPhone 12 Pro Max827
Google Pixel 3644
20 feet
iPhone 12 Pro Max755
Google Pixel 3529
30 feet
iPhone 12 Pro Max729
Google Pixel 3462
40 feet (porch)
iPhone 12 Pro Max642
Google Pixel 3308
120 feet (across street)
iPhone 12 Pro Max260
Google Pixel 3169

ExpressVPN Aircove

iPhone 12 Pro MaxGoogle Pixel 3
2 feet845635
10 feet834614
20 feet725562
30 feet637485
40 feet (porch)637227
120 feet (across street)19198
2 feet
iPhone 12 Pro Max845
Google Pixel 3635
10 feet
iPhone 12 Pro Max834
Google Pixel 3614
20 feet
iPhone 12 Pro Max725
Google Pixel 3562
30 feet
iPhone 12 Pro Max637
Google Pixel 3485
40 feet (porch)
iPhone 12 Pro Max637
Google Pixel 3227
120 feet (across street)
iPhone 12 Pro Max191
Google Pixel 398

Gryphon AX

iPhone 12 Pro MaxGoogle Pixel 3
2 feet855684
10 feet789607
20 feet695588
30 feet584442
40 feet (porch)469255
120 feet (across street)14685
2 feet
iPhone 12 Pro Max855
Google Pixel 3684
10 feet
iPhone 12 Pro Max789
Google Pixel 3607
20 feet
iPhone 12 Pro Max695
Google Pixel 3588
30 feet
iPhone 12 Pro Max584
Google Pixel 3442
40 feet (porch)
iPhone 12 Pro Max469
Google Pixel 3255
120 feet (across street)
iPhone 12 Pro Max146
Google Pixel 385

Other routers we tested

We tested many standalone routers and mesh kits to determine which ones are ideal for security. Here are other tested models we do and don’t recommend.

Other routers we recommend for security

ModelSummaryPrice*Order online
TP-Link Archer AX6000Lacks the AX11000 model's third band for a lower price.$170.00View on Amazon
Amazon Eero Pro 6Provides some decent free security and parental controls.$119.99View on Amazon

Other routers we don’t recommend for security

ModelSummaryPrice*Order online
TP-Link Archer AX20Lacks the HomeShield suite offered on other TP-Link routers.$79.00View on Amazon
NETGEAR Nighthawk RAX200Locks most security features behind the Armor subscription.$499.99View on Amazon

FAQ about routers for security

Why do we need security features in a router?
What security features come with ASUS AiProtect?
What security features come with TP-Link HomeCare?
What security features come with ExpressVPN?
What security features come with Gryphon Protection?

Disclaimer

Author -

Kevin Parrish has more than a decade of experience working as a writer, editor, and product tester. He began writing about computer hardware and soon branched out to other devices and services such as networking equipment, phones and tablets, game consoles, and other internet-connected devices. His work has appeared in Tom’s Hardware, Tom's Guide, Maximum PC, Digital Trends, Android Authority, How-To Geek, Lifewire, and others. At HighSpeedInternet.com, he focuses on network equipment testing and review.

Editor - Cara Haynes

Cara Haynes has been editing and writing in the digital space for seven years, and she's edited all things internet for HighSpeedInternet.com for five years. She graduated with a BA in English and a minor in editing from Brigham Young University. When she's not editing, she makes tech accessible through her freelance writing for brands like Pluralsight. She believes no one should feel lost in internet land and that a good internet connection significantly extends your life span.